One-sixth select committee to vote on Bannon contempt referral. Twenty Six-page congressional report outlines Steve Bannon involvement in 1/6 insurrection.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Tomorrow, we'll have reaction from a key member of the committee, Congressman Adam Schiff. He'll be on THE BEAT tomorrow 6:00 P.M. Eastern. Join me for that.
And our special coverage of this historic night continues. THE REIDOUT with Joy Reid is up right now. Hi, Joy.
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: How are you doing, Ari. Yes, a very, very big night, thank you very much for setting that up for us so well.
All right, good evening everybody. We do begin THE REIDOUT tonight with a vote that is now before the House select committee. So, let me just start by explaining what about to happen tonight. In about 30 minutes from now, the nine members on January 6th will convene a meeting to refer Steve Bannon for criminal charges. The long-time Trump whisperer has so far defied the committee's subpoena, refusing to even show up for his scheduled deposition last Thursday. Now, he faces the consequences.
And let's just make it plain, the committee's investigation not only represents the last best chance to hold people accountable for the attempted overthrow of an American election but also to preserve American democracy, period. Every day, it seems like more new video emerges from January 6th, including this close-up view from The New York Times showing the mayhem at the front lines of the Capitol.
And given how just insane what we witnessed that day was and all that we have learned in the months since, the simple fact is it actually just has to be illegal to try to overthrow the government, full stop. But if it isn't illegal, if what we saw on January 6th did not include major crimes against the United States, then there really is no United States. There is no democracy.
Donald Trump tried to overturn a free and fair election. He did it overtly and he did it covertly. He tried to undercut the election on the front end, tried to get Ukraine to announce a fake investigation of the Bidens and then lied about mail-in voting and on and on and on. And he tried to undo it on the back end. First, he tried to nullify the electoral votes from the multiple states. And then when that didn't work out, he summoned a violent mob that laid siege to our Capitol to try to intimidate Congress into not certifying Biden's win. And we know that happened because we watched that happen.
And now this country must ensure that it will never happen again, which is why any witness who defies or obstructs this committee's investigation has got to be prosecuted, which is why the committee will vote tonight on a 26- page report that outlines the case for contempt against Bannon and spotlights the multifaceted role that he appears to have played in the events of January 6th.
The report highlights that Bannon reportedly spoke to Donald Trump on one or more occasions regarding what could or should happen on January 6th. And it mentioned a series of war room meetings at the Willard Hotel in Washington D.C., where Bannon reportedly gathered with Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman, the author of that now infamous memo outlining how to steal the election, as well as veteran dirty trickster Roger Stone and Trump campaign officials.
At that meeting, the participants reportedly discussed plans to stop or delay the January 6th counting of the election results and persuade members of Congress to block the electoral count, persuade members of Congress to block the electoral count.
Most alarming of all is that Bannon's statements on January 5th suggests that he had some foreknowledge about events that would occur the next day, and that includes his ominous but accurate prediction that all hell is going to break loose.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE BANNON, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE POLITICAL ADVISER: All hell is going to break loose tomorrow. Just understand this. All hell is going to break loose tomorrow. It's going to be moving. It's going to be quick.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Of course, all hell did break loose that day. We saw it. And now, Bannon is evading his responsibility, hiding behind a ridiculous claim that the guy who isn't president anymore controls executive privilege, not the guy who is president right now, and who has already said no. In a letter to Bannon's lawyer, the deputy White House counsel said, one more time, for everybody in the back, we are not aware of any basis for your client's refusal to appear for a deposition.
Yesterday, Bannon also tried to delay tonight's contempt proceedings by a week citing the lawsuit that Trump filed against the committee in the National Archives. And needless to say, that request was not granted. (INAUDIBLE) Bannon's protest, the committee will be moving forward within the hour. And after tonight's vote, the measure then goes to the full House. If and when it gets passed there, it then gets transmitted to the Justice Department, which will then decide whether to bring charges or whether to let Bannon, basically, Trump, get away with it, again.
Joining me now, Kurt Bardella, Adviser to the DCCC, Maya Wiley MSNBC Legal Analyst and former New York City Mayoral Candidate, and Glenn Kirschner, former Federal Prosecutor, which -- and I'm going to start with Glenn.
I'm losing my control of the language right now.
Glenn, I -- you know, if I sound a little exasperated, it's because there is still an open question as to whether it is strictly illegal to try to overturn an American election. Do you agree with me that what happens tonight in this vote and what the DOJ does about it, if and when it passes, it answers that question and that question is the fundamental question about our democracy right now?
GLENN KIRSCHNER, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: And, Joy, we all know the answer to that question, so it is put up or shut up time. And it looks like Congress is ready to put up and then it will shift over to the Department of Justice. I predict they will also be ready to put up.
What will put up look like? It will look like under the federal law a referral of this contempt vote, which is a foregone conclusion, we all believe, to the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, the law says that he then shall present this matter to the grand jury for its action because Donald Trump hasn't even tried to invoke executive privilege with respect to conversations with Steve Bannon, Steve Bannon has no factual defense, Steve Bannon has no legal defense and the grand jury should indict Steve Bannon for criminal contempt of Congress.
REID: And, Maya, I mean, Steve Bannon hasn't been working the White House since 2017. Like he was long gone by the time he was having these conversations. He was already out. Trump had got mad at him because he cooperated in some books and given some quotes. He was like not involved at all in the Trump administration by the time January 6th, 2021 happened. So there isn't any -- he's not even close to where he could get an executive privilege claim.
The fact that he's doing it says to me that he is imparting upon himself the kind of impunity Trump has been used to his entire life and saying, well, I will just maybe wait it out. Maybe I'll just go ahead and violate this law. Maybe I will go to jail and I'll just take it because he's operating under the same crazy Fox News world assumption that he can just wait it out, thug it out, go to jail and Donald Trump will magically come back into power or come back into power because they steal the election and pardon him. If he's thinking that, would he be crazy to think that?
MAYA WILEY, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST": You know, well, the short answer is all of this is a stalling tactic. I mean, as you said, there is no executive privilege here and there is no defense for Steve Bannon. But the point is they're trying to run out the clock and this will go through a judicial process and the wheels of justice can turn too slowly when we have the kind of election cycle we're looking at right now, and that is exactly what they're banking on. They're not banking on legal arguments that hold any water. Frankly, they're just banking on the thuggery that they were banking on on January 6th.
and the really important thing to note here is even though there is going to be a process and we are all going to be frustrated by the length of it, it is critically important that the committee take this vote. It is critically important that they say, no, you won't because, frankly, the reason that we're in this situation right now is because Donald Trump's administration broke the constitutional balance of power in his term as president. And just remember, it was Ronald Reagan, under Iran-Contra scrutiny from Congress that said I won't even try to raise executive privilege because it's too important to the country, Ronald Reagan.
So, this really shouldn't be about partisan politics, it should be about the institutions of democracy and that's why this vote is still going to matter tonight.
REID: I mean, Susan McDougal spent time in prison for contempt of Congress in the Whitewater case, which is a nothing case, they impeached Clinton over.
Kurt, what they're counting on, it seems to me, is they are trying to thug it out. Because they think that the under thug, Kevin McCarthy, who is a complete weakling and has no spinal defense against Donald Trump, will be speaker and that he can wipe it all away. That's what they're thinking, right, Bannon and the rest of them, they're like, we'll just thug it out because our guys will be in charge soon.
KURT BARDELLA, ADVISER, DNC AND DCCC: That's exactly right, Joy. And I think it's important to talk about some of these other Republican members of Congress who have enabled this to happen in the first place. People like Kevin McCarthy, people like the National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman, Tom Emmer, people like Congressman Scott Perry from Pennsylvania, someone who -- there is an entire chapter about Scott Perry and the Senate Judiciary Committee report about January 6th, the planning into it. You got Republican donors who funded this thing, who also funded Republican members of Congress.
I mean, there is so much here that needs to be investigated. Because reality is, and this is a scary thing, the enemy truly is within. The enemy is in the House of Representatives right now. There were people who helped plan this, coordinate this. We still have the open question about what members of Congress help give recon to people who participated in January 6th.
All of these things we need answers for.
And this whole process, I think, tells us that there are really two things that Congress still needs to do. Number one, they need to act on new enforcement authority. They need give themselves the tools to enforce their oversight in real-time. They need to pass something that gives them fast- track authority with the courts.
And number two, there is something called inherent contempt, where they could throw Steve Bannon in jail right now and force him to sit there until he provides the documents, the emails and the testimony. He might get criminal contempt and he might end up being prosecuted, but that still doesn't mean we're going to get any information from him at the end of the day. I want a process that ensures that we get the information because we need to know what went into January 6th if we're going to have any chance of avoiding another one.
REID: Indeed. Absolutely, he might Manafort it out.
You mentioned Representative Scott Parry. Glenn, this is -- let's just put up why is Bannon is important, why they want to talk to him. The subpoena covers any communications that he might have had but not just Trump, Giuliani and Eastman, that we mentioned before, but Michael Flynn, who we know was the disgraced former military man who now is a Trump lackey, Sidney Powell, Kash Patel, who we know was subpoenaed, Representative Scott Perry, Jenna Ellis, the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, the 3 Percenters. He was talking to principals.
And one more thing, Glenn, for you, we know that Senate Republicans, to the point that we just heard Kurt making, they're already blocking Biden being able to put a permanent person in place to prosecute these January 6th thugs, the ones who were actually at the Capitol. They're blocking it. No one knows what the objection is, this guy named Matt Graves, they're just blocking it. They're already throwing sand in the wheels and there are people that need to be talked to, including Congress members. Your thoughts.
KIRSCHNER: Yes, I worked with Matt Graves at the D.C. Attorney's Office. He's a very good, strong, honest, ethical prosecutor and he should be confirmed as U.S. attorney. In the interim, we have Channing Phillips, who I worked with for decades. He is also a very good, strong prosecutor. So, either way, let the Republicans do their worst. The DCUS Attorney's Office will be in good hands.
But, joy, all of those names you just ran through, people that Steve Bannon can provide incriminating information about is what makes Steve Bannon a big ticket witness. And if there is any good news with this criminal contempt referral and likely indictment of Steve Bannon, once the grand jury is investigating Steve Bannon's criminal contempt, you know what else they have to investigate that goes along with every criminal investigation in the grand jury? His motive. Why might he be willing to suffer a contempt charge rather than testify before Congress? Simple, he doesn't want to incriminate Donald Trump. Why? In part, Donald Trump was the one who saved him by giving him a pardon after he stole money with his bogus rebuild the wall foundation. Donald Trump pardoned him. Talk about powerful motive to cover up Donald Trump's crime.
And let me finish with this, Joy. You know what that makes Donald Trump in the upcoming grand jury investigation of Steve Bannon's criminal contempt? It makes him a subject of the grand jury's investigation. That's a term of heart. Meaning, you are someone -- you're not the target, Steve Bannon is the target .But you're someone who may have criminal exposure in connection with the investigating we are conducting. So, hold on tight for this grand jury investigation.
REID: What worries me about that though, Maya, is that, you know, this sounds like with the Michael Cohen case. Everyone knows who the person is for whom Michael Cohen was writing those checks to Stormy Daniels. It was Donald Trump. He's subject number one wherever he's listed and he still walks away. And I think that's what worries people is that this man has lived 73 or however old years with impunity and people wonder when that's going to end.
WILEY: Well, there is one key difference, which is Donald Trump was president. He is no longer president right now. So, I think to Glenn's point, it does make a difference if he starts to get implicated in something that is an existing grand jury as just a regular old person walking up and down the street.
Now, I think the other critical point here is he is absolutely going to get scrutiny if, if this committee continues to be aggressive. Because, frankly, there is no reason they cannot subpoena him. And remember that executive privilege is the weakest privilege there is. Meaning, it is -- now, we don't know what the Supreme Court would do but I would love to see the litigation party that would happen around subpoenaing Donald Trump.
So, look, I think what is critical here is the Democrats have to go hard and they have to do it in the interest of protecting the institution of Congress (ph).
REID: Let's read what the White House said about this whole idea of suing the January 6th committee, this idea whether he can hide his information, a former president's actions in the White House, representing unique and existential threat to our democracy and cannot be swept under the rug, as President Biden determined the constitutional protections of executive privilege should not be used to shield information that reflects a clear and apparent effort to subvert the Constitution itself.
There is even the Justice Department, which has an uncharacteristically tough statement out of them. The Justice Department warned in a court filing yesterday that the risk of future violence is fueled by a segment of the population that seemed intent on lionizing the January 6th rioters and treating them as political prisoners, heroes or martyrs, instead of what they are, criminals, many of whom committed extremely serious crimes of violence and all of whom attacked the democratic values, which all of us should share.
And, Kurt, you know one of the people who's been lionizing those people, who encourage them, who has this sort of strange of Euro fascist belief in the way America should be run and try to make Trump his vehicle, and that is Steve Bannon. In your view, is he the type of person that would be willing to go to jail to keep the secrets of what he and Donald Trump and others plotted on January 6th?
BARDELLA: You know, I think that Steve Bannon, much like Donald Trump, is all about bravado, is all about big talk, but it's a very different thing when you're facing actual consequences. And to this point, Bannon is getting away with it because the Trump pardon and he hasn't had faced those consequences.
But the one thing that we've seen about both of these men, you can't trust them as far as you can throw them. They are just as likely to turn on each other in a moment's notice because they have no honor, they have no moral code, they are only in it for themselves. As long as their relationship is perceived as mutually beneficial, sure, they're on the same side.
But I remember it wasn't too long ago when Trump was teeing on Twitter calling him Sloppy Steve and Steve was excommunicated and had to spend years traveling around the globe trying to reinvent himself. So, it's like you just never know with these type of characters what is going to happen.
But I do think that one of the things that's important as this process plays out, this is such a liability for vulnerable Republican members of Congress. Republicans have high hopes of taking back Congress in 2022. But every time they take a vote, and they'll be taking a House-wide vote probably on Thursday for contempt, when they let someone like Steve Bannon off and the facts start coming out and the grand jury comes together and we learn the full totality of what happened, that vote is going to hang around the necks of like Andy Biggs or Andy Harris or Scott Perry or Brian Fitzpatrick. I would not want to be the Republicans having to take the vote to exonerate Steve Bannon this week after contempt goes to the House floor.
REID: Well, we're going to keep you all around. Kurt Bardella, Maya Wiley, Glenn Kirschner, we're going to keep you guys around because there is a lot to come later on. I have many more questions for you.
And as we await the start of tonight's meeting of January 6th select committee, which will vote on whether to recommend criminal contempt charges against Steve Bannon, who, as we just mentioned, is defying the committee subpoena, we'll bring that to you live.
And up next, Congressman Eric Swalwell, he joins me on why the Democrats cannot allow the people who encouraged, planned and carried out the January 6th insurrection to get away with it.
THE REIDOUT continues after this.
REID: Welcome back.
OK, we are just moments away from the start of a meeting of the January 6 committee, which will vote on whether to advance an effort to hold Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress. This is the first deadline. The second larger and more consequential deadline is November 2022.
And that is when we will know if Republicans will take control of the House, which would effectively put a stop to any meaningful accountability of the twice-impeached president and his administration's role in the January 6 insurrection.
It should not surprise you that a Republican-led House would do everything in its power to obstruct justice, given their unwavering adoration of the former president and the fact that some of them would likely be more than embarrassed by the investigation.
It should also come as no surprise that Trump is looking to throw sand and rocks and lawsuits and every other obstruction in the way of the investigation, given that he has lived his entire life with impunity, openly flaunting the law as if the rules just don't apply to him.
And let's just be honest. At this point, it's a strategy that's proven rather effective for the Florida retiree.
In an piece of "The Washington Post," Philip Bump argues that there is no reason to believe that Trump or any of his minions are working in good faith with the committee. Instead, they are playing the longer game, which has been fruitful, because as Bump notes: "In the battle between American institutions and Trump, the former has repeatedly proved to be mostly impotent."
With me now, Congressman Eric Swalwell of California. He was an impeachment manager earlier this year.
And I make this point with you, having been an impeachment manager, Congressman. Impeachment couldn't stop him. A second impeachment couldn't stop him. The Emoluments Clause didn't even -- he didn't even faze him -- that didn't even faze him. He literally leased a hotel from the General Accounting Office from the United States government while he was president, violated multiple laws while he was president, and walked away and went and played golf.
So I think that's what frustrates people, is that they don't see our institutions...
REID: Go on.
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): He had a convention -- he had a national convention on the White House lawn, to just add to your list.
REID: And he has a body count of more than a half-a-million Americans.
Right now, in Brazil, Bolsonaro is facing charges of essentially mass homicide for doing exactly what Trump did here. So, I wonder. I think people at this point don't think our institutions are capable of reining someone like him in.
What do you think?
SWALWELL: Right now, it's frustrating, Joy, but the best constraint on Donald Trump is the law. And the law moves not nearly at the pace of Trump's corruption. That's what's so frustrating.
So I have got a lawsuit against Donald Trump. Many Capitol Police officers have lawsuits against Donald Trump. We're moving toward a big ruling in the next couple of weeks on that lawsuit, and we hope that he will face a deposition and discovery requests, just as he faced earlier this week.
And so I think you're going to see pretty soon this buildup to Donald Trump finally being held to account by the law. But, tonight, the January 6 commission is going to say, Donald Trump, Steve Bannon, everyone who was a part of the insurrection on January 6, you're not above the law.
And if your viewers, Joy, would refuse to comply with a subpoena in their own local court, they would be brought in by a judge in a jumpsuit and asked why they think they're above the law. And we're saying that Steve Bannon and anyone else should be treated the same way.
REID: You were a prosecutor, Congressman.
I mean, there is a thing called inherent contempt. Congress could actually just use the jail under the Capitol. Do you think that it's a mistake to go through this process and rely on the Department of Justice?
And, look, Merrick Garland may be a fine man and a good man, but he isn't exactly an aggressive man when it comes to holding Donald Trump or any of the people involved in what amount to threats of violence against our citizenry, against members of Congress, and against our democracy -- he hasn't exactly been aggressive.
Should Congress just take it upon themselves and throw Steve Bannon in that jail under the Capitol?
SWALWELL: We should pass Ted Lieu's legislation that would put in place inherent contempt, Joy. So I'm a supporter of that piece of legislation. I'm an original sponsor of it.
That is one way to do this. Right now, without the Senate on board to also assist us in giving us that leverage, we should encourage Merrick Garland to treat Donald Trump no better, but no worse than any other person who would be evaluated by the Department of Justice.
He's going to testify on Thursday to the Judiciary Committee. And that's one of the questions we're going to have is, will you agree that he should be treated no better, no worse, and not just sweep this under the rug, because, for the sake of moving on, we'd be better off? We're not better off if we don't recognize that he took a wrecking ball to every institution we value in this country.
And if he broke the law, he has to be held to account.
REID: What happens if Kevin McCarthy becomes speaker, God forbid? What happens to this investigation or any investigation?
Because, by the way, Kevin McCarthy might be a witness, according to Liz Cheney. He might be implicated. He might actually be someone who has to testify. What happens? Will he be allowed to thwart this investigation from the -- with the speaker's gavel in his hand?
SWALWELL: What happens if Kevin McCarthy becomes speaker and the January 6 issues are not resolved?
SWALWELL: Well, first and foremost, Congressional Gold Medals will be given to the cop killers of January 6. I promise you that.
Second, he will erase the history of the cop heroes, like Michael Fanone, who he refused to meet with for so long, like Harry Dunn, Sergeant Gonell, Danny Hodges. Their heroism will be erased under Kevin McCarthy.
And a probe into how do we prevent this from happening again will go away, and he will set the stage for January 6, 2025, being the bloodiest day ever at the Capitol, because I promise you they are setting in place a posture in this country where they will not accept majority rule. And this will be, again, setting the stage for a day even worse than January 6.
That's what is at stake right now.
REID: "The New Yorker" wrote a piece, and it talked about why impeachment doesn't work in our system.
And they write that: "Trump's matching set of trials will establish another point" -- this was before they were all over -- "the overall weakness of impeachment as a device in the presidency. If any weapon is truly potent, you probably don't have to use it twice."
You have talked about Donald Trump inciting future violence. You just talked about the fact that Kevin McCarthy would do it as well. And I wonder if you think it's time for Congress to start looking at its own inherent powers in a broader way and start to seize back some power, because it does feel like the presidency itself has reached a point that, if you have a bad actor in it, if you have somebody who wants to be an autocrat, there really aren't that many ways to stop them.
Are you concerned that Congress has let go too much power constitutionally?
SWALWELL: Yes. Yes, Joy, absolutely, because the only thing that has changed is that Donald Trump is not president.
SWALWELL: Nothing about the constraints, what we could put on an abusive executive, has changed.
And we were always spared by Donald Trump's incompetency, but we were always scared by his corrupt instincts. There will be a future corrupt, but competent leader who comes along. And if we're not ready, if we don't learn from what Donald Trump did and put in more constraints, it'll be at our own country's peril.
Adam Schiff has the best legislation this, Joy. It's the Protecting Our Democracy Act. It really seeks to repair all the damage Donald Trump did, and we should pass that yesterday.
REID: You should maybe ask some of the coal barons and oil companies of Joe Manchin if they will let Joe Manchin vote on that. And Kyrsten Sinema, maybe ask the drug companies.
Sorry. Editorial comment on my part.
We have from "Washington Post" Tommy Tuberville and other senators gathered together in a bunker on January 6, the same day all of you guys were in threat of your lives, and wondered if they should revisit their votes. Tuberville said no.
Here's what he told "The Post": "I wasn't voting for me. I was voting for the people of Alabama. President Trump has an 80 percent approval rating there. I told them there I'm going to vote how you want me to vote," that, essentially, because people in Alabama like Donald Trump, he was willing to subvert the election.
When you have a party that feckless and two members of your own party who just don't seem to give a damn, how do we save the republic?
SWALWELL: We need more people like Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger.
They had Republicans in their districts overwhelmingly telling them not to accept the outcome of the election, and they followed their conscience. They followed the Constitution. They cared about the country.
And Senator Tuberville, on the first day, he failed the most basic test, which is, are you taking votes because it's just which way the wind blows, or are you taking votes because your conscience, your country and the Constitution dictate it?
He failed a leadership test that day. He's failed it every day since. And until we see more integrity among the Republican Party, their party is lost.
REID: Yes, I think a lot of people are giving you a high-five on that one and an amen.
Congressman Eric Swalwell, thank you so much. Really appreciate you spending some time with us this evening.
SWALWELL: My pleasure. Thanks, Joy.
All right back with me -- thank you.
I want to bring back in Kurt Bardella, DCCC adviser, MSNBC legal analyst Maya Wiley, former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner.
If you look on the right side of your screen, you can see this meeting starting to get ready to take place.
And, Kurt, you have -- this is a familiar location for you, because you were staff for a while in the Congress. So, we're watching this meeting start to take place.
Give us a sense, in your mind, how important is this day, as we kind of reflect on where we are since January 1, how important it is that we publicly see this happening and see Congress trying to hold at least one of these January 6 actors to account.
BARDELLA: You know, I think that this is going to be an important chapter in the story of the defense of our democracy and the effort to restore actual checks and balances to our country's process, checks and balances that were just completely wrecked by four years of Donald Trump.
And I'm going to be really interested to hear what the members say, both people like Jamie Raskin, people like Bennie Thompson, people like Liz Cheney, what their remarks are going to be as they prepare to take this very important and really historic vote.
And I think, again, I spent the better part of the day thinking about one of the times that Republicans held a member of the Obama administration in contempt. And it was Jim Jordan who said, the only path to the truth is through the House of Representatives.
And as I watch these proceedings unfold, and I watched people like Jim Jordan sit these proceedings out, people who were so eager to be a part of Benghazi, that select committee, the Republicans have forfeited their right to be there, taking the lead of Kevin McCarthy.
But what happened to the ones that were pushing for aggressive oversight, for accountability, who said the American people have a right to know what happens in their government, how power is utilized and weaponized and used as an instrument by bad actors? Where did they all go?
So many of them are still walking the halls of Congress right now, Joy, and yet they can't be bothered to be seen or heard to talk about the things that they were so happy to talk about when Barack Obama was president.
REID: Yes, I mean, well, Benghazi was -- involved Democrats, and it was -- five people tragically died. It was horrific.
But if you look at this, as many people died as a result of what happened January 6, and Republicans don't seem to mind at all. And many of them were law enforcement. They don't seem to mind at all.
Maya, you ran for office in the city of New York. And so you understand that, when one runs for office, the presumption is, win or lose, you accept the results. You accept that this is part of democracy, you then don't try to turn over the tables and burn the place down because you didn't win. That's not the way it works. You support the incoming government.
Talk a little bit about the fact that we do have a political party that's decided that that's not good enough anymore, that they either win or they burn it down, or they sit back and they watch their people burn it down and defecate in the Capitol and urinate in the Capitol and urinate on our democracy simply because they couldn't win an election.
WILEY: You know, this is the genie that the Republican Party let out of the bottle when they decided to embrace Donald Trump, who, if you remember, during the election, the first election, 2015, were backsliding and moonwalking and distancing themselves from because they thought anybody who was doing the kinds of things that he was doing on the campaign trail, from inciting violence, to having the tape come out about him grabbing and sexually assaulting women, could not win and would be bad for them politically.
When that turned out not to be true, then they made their deal with the devil. And what they basically said was, all right, we're all in now.
We have seen that. And that means right now what has happened is, they have enabled their own power, the power of the institution they got elected to lead in, they have allowed it to be undermined.
But I think the problem here is what they're really saying is, we will use the power that we have in Congress if we are the majority for our own hands and our own power, not for the (AUDIO GAP)
And I think that is the most devastating statement anyone can make about a democracy, because when you seek public office, what you're actually doing is asking to borrow the power of the people to use it for their benefit.
And so you break not just your oath of office, but you actually break the sacred trust. And democracy can't survive that way. So, it's critically important that we do have two Republicans on this committee who are going to stand up for the institution and stand up for the people, rather than stand up for the personal interests of Donald Trump.
I mean, Glenn, the idea that the law only applies to those on the other side of you, but it doesn't apply to you, that is sort of core fascism. And we do have a situation where no one can be confident that, if Republicans take back control of the government, that they will pursue and continue to pursue and continue to encourage the pursuit of an investigation into an attack on them, an attack on their persons, on their staff, on the 20- somethings who worked for Kevin McCarthy, who worked for them, who worked for Mitt Romney and Mitch McConnell.
Their own staffs were also at risk of dying, were terrified. And they don't care. None of them do. And I wonder what that does say about whether the rule of law exists if only one political party believes in it.
KIRSCHNER: No, there's no respect for the rule of law if it is deployed selectively, right?
So if you stop investigating and prosecuting bank robbers, what are you going to see? A whole lot more bank robberies.
And Kurt and Maya are the political experts. I'm not. But the conversation that you and Maya were just having, what happens if the crimes against our democracy by Donald Trump, Steve Bannon and others go unaddressed, unprosecuted?
KIRSCHNER: You know what will become extinct? What will become extinct are Republican concession speeches, because they will never again admit that they lost. They will somehow wrestle away from the majority of the voters the election, and they will declare themselves the winners.
Let me interrupt you, Glenn, because we do have -- that is Chairman Bennie Thompson. He has taken his seat. You saw Jamie Raskin. There you see Liz Cheney. You saw Adam Kinzinger also filing in.
You see the members of this committee. They are now seated. Let's take a listen to what they are saying.
REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): A quorum being present, the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol will come to order.
The select committee is meeting this evening to consider a report on a resolution recommending that the House of Representatives find Stephen K. Bannon in contempt of Congress for a refusal to comply with a subpoena duly issued by the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol.
Without objection, the chair is authorized to declare the committee in recess at any time.
I will now recognize myself for an opening statement.
Let me start by saying that it gives me no joy that I have been forced to call this meeting. I think my colleagues feel the same way. The expectation of this committee is that all witnesses will cooperate with our investigation. Witnesses who have been subpoenaed have a legal obligation to do so.
And when you think about what we are investigating, a violent attack on the seat of our democracy perpetrated by fellow citizens on our Constitution, an attempt to stop the certification of an election, it's shocking to me, shocking that anyone would not do anything in their power to assist our investigation.
So, it's a shame that Mr. Bannon has put us in this position, but we won't take no for an answer. We believe Mr. Bannon has information relevant to our probe, and we will use the tools at our disposal to get that information.
I expect that the House will quickly adopt this referral through the Justice Department and that the U.S. attorney will do his duty and prosecute Mr. Bannon for criminal contempt of Congress.
Our goal is simple. We want Mr. Bannon to answer our questions. We want him to turn over whatever records he possess that are relevant to the select committee's investigation.
The issue in front of us today is our ability to do our job. It's about fulfilling our responsibilities according to House Resolution 503 to provide the American people answers about what happened on January 6, and help ensure nothing like that day ever happens again.
We fulfill our responsibilities by discovering the facts behind the January 6 attack, so that Congress can consider legislation with a full understanding of the activities that led to an attack on Congress itself.
I want to make it clear just how isolated Mr. Bannon is in his refusal to cooperate with the select committee. We have reached out to dozens of witnesses. We are taking in thousands of pages of records. We are conducting interviews on a steady basis.
This is the shoe leather work of conducting a serious, focused investigation. It's not flashy, but it gets results. It's essential that we get Mr. Bannon's factual and complete testimony in order to get a full accounting of the violence of January 6 and its causes.
Mr. Bannon stands alone in his complete defiance of our subpoena. That's not acceptable. No one in this country, no matter how wealthy or how powerful, is above the law. Left unaddressed, this defiance may encourage others to follow Mr. Bannon down the same path.
For folks watching at home this evening, I want you to think about something. What would happen to you if you did what Mr. Bannon is doing? If you were a material witness in a criminal prosecution or some other lawsuit, what would happen if you refused to show up? Do you think you would be able to just go about your business?
We all know the answer to that. There isn't a different set of rules for Mr. Bannon. He knows this. He knows that there are consequences for outright defiance. And he's chosen the path toward criminal contempt by taking this position.
And there are better matters at stake. One of the major questions the select committee is dealing with is whether the rule of law will be able to endure as a pillar of American democracy. After all, we have seen the rule of law put to the test repeatedly in our recent past.
While we don't know all the facts, we do know that there was a powerful push to overturn the legitimate results of the 2020 election. Americans have been and continue to be lied to about that. We know that, ultimately, there was a violent attack that interfered with the peaceful transfer of power from one president to another.
We know that lies about the outcome of that election haven't gone away. And now we have a key witness who's flat-out refusing to comply with a congressional subpoena and cooperate with our investigation. The rule of law remains under attack right now.
Is there no accountability for these abuses, if there are different sets of rules for different types of people, then our democracy is in serious trouble.
As chair of this committee, I want won't allow further harm to the rule of law in the course of our work. Mr. Bannon will comply with our investigation, or he will face the consequences. Maybe he's willing to be a martyr to a disgraceful cause of whitewashing what happened on January 6 or demonstrating his complete loyalty to the former president.
So, I want our witnesses to understand something very plainly. If you are thinking of following the path Mr. Bannon has gone down, you are on notice that this is what you will face.
The process we begun tonight is a grave one. It seldom happens. And we'd rather avoid it altogether. But it's not reserved just for Steve Bannon. If other witnesses defy this committee, if they fail to cooperate, we will be back in this room with a new report with the names of whoever else mistakenly believes that they are above the law.
We hope no other witnesses put themselves in the situation Mr. Bannon has through his own conduct, but we cannot allow anyone to stand in the way of the select committee as we work to get to the facts. The stakes are just too high.
We won't be deterred. We won't be distracted. And we won't be delayed. I urge my colleagues to support the favorable adoption of this report.
It is now my pleasure to yield to the distinguished vice chair, my friend Ms. Cheney of Wyoming, for any statements she would care to offer.
REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
On January 6, a mob breached the security perimeter of our Capitol, assaulted and injured more than 140 police officers, engaged in hand-to- hand violence over an extended period, and invaded and occupied the United States Capitol Building, all in an effort to halt the lawful counting of electoral votes and reverse the results of the 2020 election.
The day before this all occurred, on January 5, Mr. Bannon publicly professed knowledge that -- quote -- "All hell is going to break loose tomorrow" -- end quote.
He forecast that the day would be -- quote -- "extraordinarily different" than what most Americans expected. He said to his listeners and his viewers -- quote -- "So many people said, if I was in a revolution, I would be in Washington. Well," he said, "this is your time in history."
Based on the committee's investigation, it appears that Mr. Bannon had substantial advanced knowledge of the plans for January 6, and likely had an important role in formulating those plans. Mr. Bannon was in the war room at the Willard on January 6.
He also appears to have detailed knowledge regarding the president's efforts to sell millions of Americans the fraud that the election was stolen. In the words of many who participated in the January 6 attack, the violence that day was in direct response to President Trump's repeated claims from election night through January 6 that he had won the election.
The American people are entitled to Mr. Bannon's firsthand testimony about all of these relevant facts. But, as the chairman noted, Mr. Bannon is refusing to provide it.
Preserving our Constitution and the rule of law is a central purpose of this investigation. The plain fact here is that Mr. Bannon has no legal right to ignore the committee's lawful subpoena. So far, Mr. Bannon's excuse is that former President Trump wishes to invoke some form of executive privilege for a subset of the relevant topics, President Trump's direct communications with Mr. Bannon regarding the planning for January 6.
This information should not be subject to any privilege at all. And, certainly, there is no basis for absolute or unqualified privilege for presidential communications.
More important now, there is no conceivably applicable privilege that could shield Mr. Bannon from testimony on all of the many other topics identified in this committee's subpoena.
Because he has categorically refused to appear, we have no choice but to seek consequences for Mr. Bannon's failure to comply. Those consequences are not just important for this investigation. They are important for all congressional investigations.
Mr. Bannon's and Mr. Trump's privilege arguments do, however, appear to reveal one thing. They suggest that President Trump was personally involved in the planning and execution of January 6. And this committee will get to the bottom of that.
Let me add one further thought, principally for my Republican colleagues. We all agree that America is the greatest nation on the face of God's Earth. Truth, justice, and our Constitution have made America great. Almost every one of my colleagues knows in your hearts that what happened on January 6 was profoundly wrong.
You all know that there is no evidence of widespread election fraud sufficient to have changed the results of the election. You all know that the Dominion voting machines were not corrupted by a foreign power. You know these claims are false.
Yet former President Trump repeats them almost daily. And he has now urged Republicans not to vote in 2022 and 2024. This is a prescription for national self-destruction.
I ask my colleagues, please consider the fundamental questions of right and wrong here. The American people must know what happened. They must know the truth. All of us who are elected officials must do our duty to prevent the dismantling of the rule of law and to ensure that nothing like that dark day in January ever happens again.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back.
THOMPSON: Pursuant to notice, I now call up the report on a resolution recommending that the House of Representatives find Stephen K. Bannon in contempt of Congress for refusal to comply with a subpoena duly issued by the Select Committee To Investigate The January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol.
A report was circulated in advance, and printed copies are available. The clerk shall designate the report.
CLERK: Report on a resolution recommending that the House of Representatives find Stephen K. Bannon in contempt of Congress for refusal to comply with the subpoena duly issued by the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol.
THOMPSON: Without objection, the report will be considered as read and open to amendments at any time.
I will recognize myself for the purpose of offering an amendment in the nature of a substitute now at the desk. The clerk shall report the amendment.
CLERK: Amendment in the nature of a substitute offered by Mr. Thompson of Mississippi.
THOMPSON: Without objection, the amendment will be considered as read and considered base text for purposes of further amendment.
I will now recognize myself to explain the amendment.
Yesterday evening, counsel to Mr. Bannon requested a one-week adjournment of our response to a letter I wrote on October 15, which stated that Mr. Bannon's willful defiance of the select committee's subpoena would lead to tonight's hearing.
Without objection, I included my October 15 letter in the record, as well as yesterday's letter from Robert J. Costello, Mr. Bannon's attorney. Mr. Bannon's attorney said they needed time to -- quote -- "assess the select committee's request in light of litigation filed by former President Trump in the District of Columbia District Court yesterday."
However, the former president's lawsuit is immaterial to Mr. Bannon's defiance of our lawful subpoena. I made that clear in a letter to Mr. Costello this morning.
Without objections, my full letter is in the record.
Furthermore, White House yesterday issued a letter to Mr. Bannon's attorney stating -- quote -- "We are not aware of any basis for your client's refusal to appear for a deposition" -- end quote.
And for the select committee, and further, said that -- quote -- "President Biden has already determined that an assertion of executive privilege is not in the public interest and, therefore, is not justified with respect to certain subjects within the purview of the select committee" -- end quote.
Without objection, I include the full White House letter in the record.
This amendment in the nature of a substitute updates the report to reflect these developments. And it's now even clearer that Mr. Bannon has no lawful grounds not to comply with our subpoena.
If there is no further debate, the questions on agreeing to the amendment in the nature of a substitute.
Those in favor, say aye.
COMMITTEE MEMBERS: Aye.
THOMPSON: Those opposed say no.
In opinion of the chair, the ayes have it, and an amendment in the nature of a substitute is agreed to.
I now recognize the vice chair, Ms. Cheney, for a motion.
CHENEY: Mr. Chairman, I move that the committee favorably report to the House the committee's report on a resolution recommending that the House of Representatives find Stephen K. Bannon in contempt of Congress for refusal to comply with a subpoena duly issued by the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol, as amended.
THOMPSON: The question on the motion is favorably report to the House.
Those in favor, say aye.
COMMITTEE MEMBERS: Aye.
THOMPSON: Those opposed no.
In opinion of the chair, the ayes have it.
CHENEY: Mr. Chairman, I request a recorded vote.
THOMPSON: A recorded vote is requested.
The clerk will call the roll.
CLERK: Ms. Cheney?
CLERK: Ms. Lofgren?
REP. ZOE LOFGREN (D-CA): Yes.
CLERK: Ms. Lofgren, aye.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Aye.
Mr. Schiff, aye.
CLERK: Mr. Aguilar?
REP. PETE AGUILAR (D-CA): Aye.
CLERK: Mr. Aguilar, aye.
REP. STEPHANIE MURPHY (D-FL): Aye.
CLERK: Mrs. Murphy, aye.
REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): Aye.
CLERK: Mr. Raskin, aye.
REP. ELAINE LURIA (D-VA): Aye.
CLERK: Mrs. Luria, aye.
REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): Aye.
CLERK: Mr. Kinzinger, aye.
THOMPSON: Has the chair recorded?
CLERK: Mr. Chairman, you are not recorded.
THOMPSON: I vote aye.
CLERK: Mr. Chairman, aye.
THOMPSON: The clerk will report the vote.
CLERK: Mr. Chairman, on this vote, there are nine ayes, zero no's.
THOMPSON: The motion is agreed to.
The vice Chair is recognized.
CHENEY: Mr. Chairman, pursuant to clause 2L of Rule 11, I request that members have two calendar days in which to file with the clerk of the committee supplemental or additional views on the measure ordered reported by the committee tonight.
THOMPSON: So ordered.
Without objection, staff is authorized to make any necessary technical or conforming changes to the report to reflect the actions of the committee.
There being no further business, without objection, the select committee stands adjourned.
REID: And that is a wrap.
The committee adjourns. Nine members, a unanimous vote to favorably recommend that the House of Representatives vote through contempt charges against Steve Bannon.
The members of the committee that you just saw, obviously, Bennie Thompson, who -- of Mississippi, who is the chair, Zoe Lofgren of California, Adam Schiff of California, Pete Aguilar of California, Stephanie Murphy of Florida, Jamie Raskin of Maryland, Elaine Luria, those are the Democrats, two Republicans, Liz Cheney, the vice chair of this committee from Wyoming, and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, all unanimous.
Very quickly to review what was said, Chairman Bennie Thompson saying he takes no joy in having to do what they did tonight, but asks those of you at home, what would happen to you if you did what Steve Bannon is doing? If they were -- if you were a material witness in a criminal prosecution or some other lawsuit, what would happen if you just refused to show up?
Do you think you would be able to just go about your business? We all know the answer to that.
He suggested that maybe Steve Bannon is willing to be a martyr to the disgraceful cause of whitewashing what happened on January 6 and demonstrating his complete loyalty to the former president. But he warned other witnesses to understand plainly, he said, if you're thinking of following the path Mr. Bannon has gone down, you are on notice that this is what you will face, saying there is -- there are consequences to refusing to comply.
I want to very quickly also get into what Liz Cheney said. And I think her appeal to the self-interests of Republicans, I think, was interesting. She said to her fellow Republicans: "You know in your hearts that what happened on January 6 was profoundly wrong. You know there is no evidence of widespread election -- election fraud sufficient to overturn the election. You know the Dominion voting machines were not corrupted. You know those claims are false. And yet Trump repeats them almost daily."
And she urged Republicans to really look to their consciences and understand the severe consequences of going along with what Donald Trump did. She also laid out a pretty strong prosecutorial case against Steve Bannon, saying that it was clear that he had direct communications with Donald Trump, that the communications between them appear to have been direct, that he knew what was coming, that he knew what was going to happen on January 6, and, therefore, he has direct evidence to give to this committee.
And she all but demanded that he go ahead and give it.
We have a very short time, but, Glenn Kirschner, just that last little prosecution there, your thoughts?
BARDELLA: OK, cool. Sounds good.
I mean, Steve Bannon has no factual defense, no legal defense. And it was really nice to see some Republicans and Democrats come together and fight together to try to save the democracy. And now we will have to look to the full House vote.
REID: Kurt -- OK, we do not have much more time.
So, I just want to thank Kurt Bardella, Maya Wiley, Glenn Kirschner.
Thank you all. Thank you all for joining us tonight for this broadcast.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" is going to pick it up from here. Chris Hayes will pick it up on the other side of this break.
Oh, no, he will not. No break.
We're just going to right to you, Chris.